FOUR CARTI NURSES RECOGNIZED AS 2022 NURSING COMPASSION NOMINEES
Congratulations to our 2022 Nursing Compassion Nominees Sherri Horton, Leslie Mansfield and Alison Ruff and to our 2022 Outstanding Nurse Educator Nominee Lynda Jo Palmer.
These awards are given by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Publishing Concepts, Inc., Farm Bureau of Arkansas, and Dr. Suzanne Yee Cosmetic and Laser Surgery Center. Nominees were submitted by colleagues and patients who recognize the exemplary care and compassion these nurses give to those in need. There are more than 45,000 nurses in Arkansas and only a handful are nominated for this honor so CARTI is especially proud to have four on this list.
CARTI prides itself on being patient-focused and these nurses exemplify this daily. Learn more about our amazing nominees below:
SHERRI HORTON, BSN, RN
Name and title(s): Sherri Horton, BSN, RN. Serves as the Physician Team Lead for Dr. Jauss.
How long have you been a nurse? 29 years
How long have you been at CARTI? Nine years, six months
What attracted you to working in cancer care? I truly feel this was God placing me in oncology. When I graduated from nursing school we had to move to Fort Smith, Arkansas, due to my husband getting accepted into radiology tech school. When we moved the only job openings were pediatrics, urology and oncology. I was offered the oncology job first so I took it and have been in love with this field ever since.
What keeps you passionate about your job? The patients and their families. I have always said we have the best ones. I feel we serve as an extension to their family as we are with them every step of the way throughout their journey.
What advice do you have for those looking to join the nursing profession? If you want to grow and never be bored along with meeting and loving some of the most amazing people then this is the field for you.
Is there a story that drives home the compassionate care we provide at CARTI? Without a doubt you have to be compassionate to be a nurse but especially an oncology nurse. I believe our standard of showing compassion at CARTI is one where multiple team members come together for a positive output for the patient. I am very fortunate to work with such an amazing team. One patient that stands out is a young metastatic breast cancer patient married with three children and in extreme pain due to her disease. Her husband was really struggling with decisions. His love for his wife and his meticulous care for her was inspiring. Between Dr. Jauss, my nurses, our medical secretary, lab, imaging, infusion nurses, financial counselor and pastoral care I have no doubts that she got the finest care and reassurance to her spouse of what a phenomenal job he did in caring for her until her passing. As trying as cases like these are it is also rewarding to not having any regrets that as a whole we gave her and her family the best care that she deserved.
When you aren’t working, what is something that you enjoy doing that you would like to share? I have been an active Jazzerciser for the last 18 years and at one time was an instructor for 10 of those years. I also love to read and am in a book club. My guilty pleasure is listening to true crime podcasts.
LYNDA JO PALMER, RN BAED, NPD-BC
Name and title(s): Lynda Jo Palmer, RN BaEd, NPD-BC, Clinical Nursing Educator
How long have you been a nurse? I have been an RN for 30 years, and before that I was a second grade elementary school teacher.
What attracted you to working in cancer care? I used to play school teacher as a little girl, and I would take care of all the wounded animals in the family like I was a vet – so nursing and education go hand in hand for me. I am so blessed that I can do both! I have an education degree, a nursing degree and carry many board certifications in documentation, vascular access and nursing specialties.
How long have you been at CARTI? I have been at CARTI two and a half years, after a long history with Baptist Health for 30 years.
What keeps you passionate about your job? I am so impressed with how smart cancer care is – it is amazing the ever changing smart medicine that we deliver, like engineering a drug to unlock a certain receptor on a cell surface that triggers its ability to destroy only the cancer cells and leave the others alone. I love being around compassionate nurses that enjoy their career. There is always something new in cancer care to learn, our nurses give so much every day that I want to help prepare them with all tools possible, dig out the information for them and put it into a meaningful lesson, and help them to be confident care providers for our patients. I love helping to develop nurses, and help them find their career passion, and ultimately get them where they want to be. I want them to love their career and value it as much as I have, and I want to help them, help each other succeed. It truly feeds my inner spirit to work with nurse in this way.
What advice do you have for those looking to join the nursing profession? It has been the best career ever— it is a part of who you are, your identity, so drive it in the direction that you want it to go! If you self-invest in your nursing career it always has great yield for you. Understand that nursing is a continual learning adventure on a never ending continuum.
Is there a story that drives home the compassionate care we provide at CARTI? When I was hired by CARTI I was given the privilege of building an educational nursing program from the ground up. I can’t think of anything I would rather do in my last five years of nursing. We have come a long way in the last two and a half years, but still have many more exciting years, and a long way still to go. I hope to launch other nurses into CARTI Nursing Education in the future to carry on. We have so many perks working for CARTI (too many to count). Our best asset is our employees, and I want to help take care of them and provide them with the best, most meaningful education products possible.
When you aren’t working, what is something that you enjoy doing that you would like to share? In my spare time I am pretty much a nerd, and love to read/research stuff that would be beneficial to others. I love technology and gadgets too! But my all-time favorite is spending time with family and friends and cultivating those relationships.
ALISON RUFF, BSN RN, OCN
Name and title(s): Alison Ruff, BSN RN, OCN. I am the infusion team lead at Conway CARTI.
How long have you been a nurse? 16 and a half years
How long have you been at CARTI? September will be eight years
What attracted you to working in cancer care? My sister, Sarah Eubanks, is a radiation therapist here at CARTI and loves her job. When a part time position in the Russellville clinic came open, I decided to give it a try due to the better hours and closer drive. The first few days were overwhelming, but after I started making connections with patients, I knew this was where I was supposed to be.
What keeps you passionate about your job? Our patients. They honestly do become like family. I celebrate milestones with them – treatment related and not. They ask about my family, and I get to meet theirs. The relationships I get to build here with the most precious people on the planet make it easy to come to work. Plus, I have developed wonderful relationships with my coworkers, we work together as a team in a way I did not experience in the hospital setting.
What advice do you have for those looking to join the nursing profession? It is not easy, but if you stick it out, the rewards more than make up for it.
Is there a story that drives home the compassionate care we provide at CARTI? I had a patient once who was going through a severe depressive episode. We were from the same area, and her daughter and I attend the same church, so this patient kind of “attached” herself to me. As I was preparing to start her treatment for the day, she just broke down crying. We had a full infusion room, but my coworkers took over all of my other patients so I could sit there and just hold her hand and listen. When she was finally calm, we started treatment and the other patients told me how moved they were by the way all the nurses made sure this lady got what she needed. After she passed away, her daughter told me that was one of the few times her mother actually felt at peace during treatment.
When you aren’t working, what is something that you enjoy doing that you would like to share? My family and I love to camp! We are also crazy chicken people – our chickens are our pets, with names and different personalities. We also have a big vegetable garden, and I love to can and preserve produce. I am fortunate to have recently moved back to my hometown with my husband, Ken, and nine year old son, Johnny, who is the fourth generation to attend Wonderview school. I am currently working on my Master’s degree in nursing leadership as well.
LESLIE MANSFIELD, RN
Name and title(s): Leslie Mansfield, RN
How long have you been a nurse? Nine years
How long have you been at CARTI? Six years
What attracted you to working in cancer care? My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer and I was her primary caregiver for two years. Seeing the care she received during that time drove me to oncology.
What keeps you passionate about your job? I am naturally a caregiver, not only at work but outside of work. Being able to care for others is a passion of mine.
What advice do you have for those looking to join the nursing profession? Nursing is a calling. You need a passion to care for others at their most vulnerable times of life.
Is there a story that drives home the compassionate care we provide at CARTI? I had a family member I talked to multiple times on the phone over numerous months say, “I held her hand over the phone many times during their journey.”
When you aren’t working, what is something that you enjoy doing that you would like to share? I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, and reading.